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28.09.18 - 20.10.18
In 2011 London Glassblowing hosted Melt, an important exhibition of cast glass by a dazzling array of artists, for the launch of of the book ‘Mould Making for Glass’ by the internationally renowned artist Angela Thwaites.
The captivating quality of kiln cast glass has meant that it has become an important material for contemporary artists, some of whom who normally work in other media. In 2018 we will be returning to further explore the qualities of kiln cast glass as a medium for artistic expression through the work of a highly respected group of artists. Their work ranges from large scale sculptures to delicate jewellery cast from a 3D printed model.
Kiln cast glass is created by a series of complex and often lengthy processes. The artist begins by making a form in a solid material that is then cast in plaster. From this a wax model is made and invested in a refractory mould made from plaster and other materials. This type of mould retains its integral strength even at the very high temperatures required to melt glass. The wax is steamed out forming a void for the glass, hence the process being known as lost wax casting. The mould also has a reservoir that opens into the cavity and once in the kiln, this is filled with glass pieces or granules that when heated will melt and run into the cavity. There are other techniques that can be used to cast glass, but in all cases the cooling process can take from days to months depending on the size of the piece. Once cast the glass may require many hours of painstaking cold working – cutting, grinding and polishing – before its true beauty is revealed.
This important exhibition will highlight the versatility of glass as a serious artistic medium while captivating the viewer with the sheer beauty of the material. Exhibiting artists: Heike Brachlow, Sabrina Cant, Fiaz Elson, Sally Fawkes, Joseph Harrington, Ingrid Hunter, Richard Jackson, Max Jacquard, Monette Larsen, Peter Layton, Lola Lazaro Hinks, Alison Lowry, Joanne Mitchell, Kate Pasvol, Tim Rawlinson, David Reekie, Bruno Romanelli, Anthony Scala, Angela Thwaites and Andrea Walsh.
We’ve filmed some short videos of Angela Thwaites, Monette Larsen, Joseph Harrington and Bruno Romanelli – Click here to watch.
A panel discussion for Breaking the Mould, hosted by Anthony Scala, will take place on 4 October, 6pm-8pm. Please email the gallery to reserve a place.
(Click ‘Fullscreen’ in the centre to view the catalogue larger).
Heike’s often precariously balanced sculptures aim to physically engage: the viewer becomes toucher – invited by words or form, boldly or guiltily. Colour is an important part of her work: her PhD research focused exploring the interaction of colour, form and light in solid transparent glass. Her work reflects her attraction to movement and transformation, both in colour and form.
I aim to make forms capable of transformation, ideally in several different ways. My main focus is the investigation of transparent colour in glass. Thick-thin variations of form, curves and angles, the optical properties of glass, and matt or polished surface finishes all impact the appearance of the final object. The works change depending on the viewing angle, when set into motion, and with changing light conditions.
My current body of work is based on a concept called D-form, a three-dimensional form created by joining the edges of two flat shapes with the same perimeter length. Results are wildly different depending on at which point the shapes are joined. With these forms, I continue to explore the interaction of colour, form and light in glass solids. – Heike Bracklow
Sabrina’s work is inspired by celestial bodies and the natural world. Using colour to achieve effects that are subtle, harmonious and occasionally mysterious, Sabrina’s affinity with her own habitat and space is often explored. Specific colour combinations are carefully selected and arranged to provoke nostalgia, encouraging an emotional response from the viewer.
Her work incorporates a combination of techniques and skills developed from 15 years experience, with some pieces requiring up to 5 kiln firings. Gold leaf and luster are increasingly being explored in her current work.
I interpret landscapes through exploration of material. I focus on rugged coastlines, looking at erosion as a spectacle of discovery and generation of form, revealing a sense of the history and movement of a place. The work is produced using my ‘Lost Ice Process.’ I use salt to sculpt ice as a one-off ephemeral model to take a direct cast from. The
textures this provides and the transient nature of the creative process reflects the erosion and sense of time I want to represent in the landscape. There is a roughness from the initial cast that is ground polished and refined to its final finish, revealing the internal structures of the glass and creating facets and flat planes to redefine the essence of the made against the organic surface.
“Overarching themes of form, colour and light inform Bruno’s work.
Within these themes, geometry, symmetry and harmony are explored to create technically complex pieces that belie their simplicity.”
I have always been fascinated by the concept of beauty within nature; what makes something beautiful, what are the characteristics that define it as such. In my work I examine the idea that what we perceive as beautiful in nature is linked to our conscious or unconscious recognition of underlying patterns and structures. Drawing on the imagery and wonders in the living world around us, I look at the molecular structure, nanoscale and mathematics in nature as the foundation for my work. Each piece is a reflection of the living world and my aim is to share a reminder of the splendour and beautiful world around us, and let viewer form links to their own experiences. This body of work is influenced by the underlying structures of corals, their shape, growth and movement in the sea. By exploring the mathematics of their shape, known as a hyperbolic plane, through crocheting, I create a shape, growing into its own during the process. I add layers of complexity through the making process by refining and altering the piece after turning it into a solid wax, like the forces of nature alters the perfect model in the natural world. Through the wax modelling process the piece is carefully cut and carved before letting the glass casting process control the glass flow adding complexity and depth to the piece. – Monette Larsen
I am interested in textiles, especially clothing. Fabric preserves the essence of its maker; traces of the wearer become entwined with the warp and weft, allowing physical objects to become containers for memory.
This interest in fabric and embroidery started with some family heirlooms: a collection of beautiful and intricate Irish white work hand made by female relations. More recently, an embroidered christening robe that has been in my family for over hundred years inspired a major body of work. Through this work I examined my family links and ties to the past. I examined how delicate life is, and how the states of birth and death can be similar in their fragility and vulnerability. I found glass, with its perceived fragility, yet apparent strength, to be the perfect material to express such notions.
I employ a variety of glass techniques to create my sculptural works: ‘Pate de verre’ is French for glass paste and is the technique of using crushed glass packed tightly into moulds and fused in the kiln. The resulting works are usually thin walled vessels or sculptures. I sometimes take a mould directly off a fabric or garment, but this can destroy the material. The moulds can only be used once and these pieces have a high failure rate. To finish them I can sometimes spend many weeks sand blasting an individual piece. More recently I have also been sand-casting my pate de verre pieces. This experimental technique involves layering a garment with glue, glass powders and frits. The unfired glass dress is then embedding in sand and fired to a high temperature. The fabric and glue burn away and when uncovered, only the fused glass item remains. To create additional texture I use the textile technique of flocking the exterior. – Alison Lowry
Joanne has practiced as a professional artist and designer since graduating in 2000, and spent time as a designer for Edinburgh Crystal, and as a resident artist at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, before moving to Lime Street Studios, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in December 2012, where she is now based.
Joanne recently completed her practice-based PhD in glass, in which she developed a new technique employing digital technologies to precisely control air entrapment as a tool for artistic expression in kiln-formed glass. The integration of water jet cutting and CAD/CAM with more traditional processes enabled new, complex shapes and forms in glass and air which had previously been impossible. Made of layered sheet glass, the air entrapment pieces are heated to 800 degrees centigrade until precise bubbles are formed in water jet cut contours. By crash cooling and annealing, the air pockets are effectively frozen in-situ. The bubbles create ethereal three dimensional forms made of air, seemingly suspended in space. The series makes visible the intangible, and explores air as a metaphor for thought, memory, and the immaterial.
Kate Pasvol is a glass artist working in North London with her roots in Wales. Originally an Architect and Teacher she now works on her glass sculptures in her studio in North London and in the University of Hertfordshire. Her work involves a range of glass techniques including fusing and casting with particular reference to landscapes. Her recent work is made up of single and multiple glass blocks containing three dimensional images that reflect the wonderful Welsh landscape and is based on images and memories of her own walks in Wales.
The way that glass can be used to capture and manipulate light is a property that really interests me and I try to use this to create three dimensional effects in my work - Kate Pasvol
Our encounters with the world shape what we see and feel. The unknown experience can create powerful emotional responses. Contemporary society is becoming even more homogeneous and this dilutes our experience. I invite the viewer to look beyond what is apparent and search for the unknown.
Since the start of 2017 Rawlinson has been working with Bruno Romanelli, a master in the field of glass casting. Rawlinson previously only had experience in blown glass, but has now been experimenting with casting using coloured blown elements. Through combining these two unusually separate processes, his work has taken a new direction.
My work is influenced by man’s reaction and adaptation to the society in which he lives. We live in a world that grows more complex and difficult to comprehend, with its tensions and temptations that pulls us in different directions. These conflicts provide ideas from which I create characters and situations and provide me with a constant source of material for my work. I devise surreal settings showing how we try to cope with the very limited and purely imagined space that we have created for ourselves. – David Reekie
Particle’ is my own humble homage to the fundamental quantum building blocks that make up our reality and yet, so little is know about the laws which govern them. The macro universe of which we are a part of appears solid, immutable, real. However, at the quantum level it is anything but. Quantum reality is in constant flux, existing in multiple states simultaneously, unless witnessed by an observer.
To tackle this piece, I decided to use a combination of cast opalescent glass (whose colour can only be achieved through constant observation throughout the kiln firing process) and hot sculpted glass (in order to accomplish the desired structure of bubbles within the piece). My aim was to devise a piece which comprises a solid unyielding geometric structure, enclosing a transient and ever fluctuating nucleus, signifying the many mysterious quantum particles simultaneously existing in multiple states, places, even times.
This piece is a poignant reminder that there is far more to reality than what we can deduce from mathematical projections, simulations and raw data. Whatever the future of physics holds for our species, we can be sure that the fundamental nature of existence will be far stranger than any of us can possibly imagine.
Lola Lazaro Hinks (b. 1990, London, UK) creates sculptures and photograms that explore light through both material and image. She recently graduated with a Masters in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art, originally earning her Bachelor’s in Fine Art Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth. She currently lives and works in London.
Within my work the material itself is the focus, used in conjunction with space to create an illusionary realm of added dimension. In both works, the use of clear glass and curvature are combined to explore this part of its materiality; its ability to transmit visible light. In doing so, I hope to engage with our deepest connection to light and darkness and our relationship to space itself, essentially exploring the very way we visually perceive. - Lola Lazaro Hinks
Fawkes and Jackson are husband and wife, and share a large, well equipped studio in Gloucestershire. This gives rise to a fairly unique situation where both create their own individual sculptures as well as coming together to collaborate, creating pieces with a third distinct voice.
Parallels in their individual lines of enquiry and expressions led them to embrace collaboration and in 2008 Fawkes and Jackson had an exhibition at M.A.V.A., a museum dedicated to contemporary glass sculpture, in Madrid. On show was the first 10 years of both of their solo artwork and the beginnings of their collaboration. Since that time their collaboration has grown, becoming an increasingly important part of each artists practise.
“We both find this way of working very liberating and rewarding and it has been very positive for both of us, in all aspects of our work.” says Jackson.
Exploring the underlying theme of their work, ‘complexity’, how humanity processes and engages with itself and what surrounds them; be it the tangible, intangible, or concepts and how these combine to offer potential, they collaborate in the truest sense of the word with the two of them having input at all stages of the making of a piece. Their individual views and ways of expressing themselves bring a synergy to their collaborative artworks that are both challenging and harmonious.
Fawkes comments that the collaborative process is very organic. “We have never sat down and discussed roles. From the first drawings, which are usually done together, to the final stages of engraving, carving and colour application, the whole process just seems to flow.”
Sally Fawkes’s glass sculptures explore the intersections between the intangible and the physically apparent, expressing the complexity of the possibilities of experience as the boundaries of the visible and invisible blur.
Linear travelling of experience,
cycles never return, they loop,
observing gives partial knowledge of an impossibly unknowable whole
expression can only be a glimpsed moment explained.
An impression, a question, an idea, are the starting points for Richard Jackson’s work. He records impressions of things and concerns he experiences through drawing, writing and photography, and these are the source for his sculptures.
Working with words, the title for a piece emerges, then with modelling and a different kind of drawing; purposeful drawing that is a visual assemblage of his findings; the form emerges. The form is the signifier and layers of mark making provide a language; notational, gestural, rhythmically textural, or a few large calligraphic strokes.
Max Jacquard is known as an explorer and innovator working with a range of kiln forming techniques. In a career of over thirty years his unique methods have always been developed in response and as a stimulus to ideas of a more poetic nature. His ghostly figure “Brick Man” in the V and A Glass collection uses fragile armour of slumped glass plates and his delicate tissue castings won the British Glass Biennale in 1996.
More recently working closely with other artists he has used cast components to create large-scale installations for interior and exterior application. This year for example he has created installations in a German River, a London Church and a Paris Catwalk.
With the material always at the centre of his practice the journey is constantly evolving and finding new forms of expression. The series of works in ‘Breaking The Mould” revolve around the theme of the spinning form. Taking inspiration from the shapes of the Sufi Dervishes and AM radio waves these pulsating core castings make the connection between light, sound and the energies of planetary bodies.
Bruno Romanelli. Video by Anthony Scala.
Angela Thwaites. Video by Anthony Scala.
Joseph Harrington. Video by Anthony Scala.
Monette Larsen. Video by Anthony Scala.
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